Adapting novels into movies is undoubtedly common for a long time now. But, as visual effects technology grows, production houses have started building live-action movie storylines centered around video games or directly adapting them from original video games franchises.
These films offer a new, more immersive, experience to the world of video games with the live-action portrayal of characters, tweaked up plotlines, and amazon graphics and visual effects. While you’re stuck at home during this quarantine period, we have selected a handful of films, whose plot revolved around video games. These films are available on streaming platforms and therefore can be watched on your home screens.
So, here are the finest films about video games which you can stream during this lockdown:
1. Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (Netflix)
If you’re looking for any film that has a plot centered around video games, then there is no such film which can outmatch Bandersnatch. A spin-off film of the famous Netflix original anthology series Black Mirror, Bandersnatch is an interactive experience about a young kid who’s been assigned to develop a video game for a large gaming corporation.
In Bandersnatch, the viewers are given a unique interactive approach to make decisions for the main character of Stefan Butler (played by Fionn Whitehead). The film then proceeds as per the viewers’ choices and ends in different ways every time. The film has been highly regarded, and many of the viewers are still unable to figure out all kinds of endings.
Bandersnatch is regarded as the best television film experiment of all times and is the recipient of an Emmy Award for Outstanding Television Movie
2. Ready Player One (Netflix)
If you wonder what’s future of virtual reality and video gaming might be, then take a shot at Ready Player One. Another sci-fi adventure from legendary director Steven Spielberg, the film takes virtual reality immersion to a whole another level.
The film is set in a dystopian future, where people now use VR life as an escape from their harsh realities. The VR world called OASIS is more of an entertainment zone where players can venture into battles, challenges, and wondrous adventures while creating a separate life for their characters, which can range from humans to other worldly characters. The story takes a turn when the developer of this VR world passes away, leaving behind three challenges within OASIS, which upon completion, the winner shall own OASIS and its assets.
Starring Tye Sheridan and Olivia Cooke, the film offers mesmerizing visual effects and a real look into the future of the VR world. Holding a decent 72% Rotten Tomatoes rating, the film was nominated for both Oscars and BAFTA for Best Visual Effects.
3. Tron (Disney+)
Tron is one of the oldest definitions of how visual effects can change the course of film-making and can inspire hundreds of others to come. The film came six years after the first Star Wars and set off the origination of a new concept to base film stories – Video Games.
Tron follows Kevin Flynn, a software engineer. The latter is trying to hack into the computer mainframe of his former employer ENCOM but is prevented by the Master Control Program of the ENCOM mainframe. Kevin believes he can access information through the mainframe, which will prove how ENCOM’s vice-president Ed Dillinger plagiarized his work to gain rise in the company. Upon achieving success with the help of programmer Alan Bradley, Kevin is somehow digitally downloaded by MCP within the mainframe, where programs work like human entities resembling the very people that created them.
If a film with a real person being downloaded into a video game doesn’t excite you to watch it, then what will? The film holds great regard in the sci-fi genre, especially for its work on visual effects, a total benchmark to achieve in the early 1980s. The film was followed by a less successful sequel Tron: Legacy and an animated series Tron: Uprising, both of which are also available on Disney+.
4. Detective Pikachu (Amazon Prime)
The film is based on the famous Japanese franchise named Pokemon; the film takes inspiration from the video game of the same name which was in turn derived from the original franchise which has already been spawned into tens of comic book series, anime series, and toys.
The film has been set up in the fictional Ryme city where Pokemon and humans co-exist and live a similar lifestyle. The plot follows a lost Pikachu suffering from a memory loss who encounters Tim Goodman, who has been looking for his missing detective father. Both Tim and Pickachu then embark upon a journey to find Tim’s father while unknowingly getting trapped into a larger conspiracy.
The film is among the highest-rated video game adaptations of all time and was equally successful at the box-office. Starring Ryan Reynolds and Justice Smith in lead roles, there is a sequel in development which will spawn into a larger franchise for the film.
5. Jumanji: The Next Level (Prime Video)
Jumanji series has done great justice with the new modernized take on the story, switching the plotline from a board game to a modern video game PlayStation. Sequel to Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, the film follows a group of four teenagers who are sucked into a video game full of deadly adventures once again, this time accompanied by two grandpas. The four take on the role of four different video game characters who all possess different strengths and weaknesses, leaving them in charge of completing the mission.
The catch is, they’ve got three chances or lives, and if they lose them all, they are dead in the game and real life. Starring Dwayne Johnson, along with comedians Kevin Hart and Jac Black, supported by Karen Gillian and Nick Jonas, the film has lots of laughs, shocks, and hilarious sequences to keep you entertained and hooked up with the story. Worth every minute!
6. Wreck-It Ralph (Disney)
This one is another one of hilarious animated flicks from Disney. The film revolves around a video game character Ralph, who is the primary antagonist of the game Fix-It Felix Jr. In the movie, the video game characters become sentient and live out of their in-game roles whenever the gaming Arcade shuts down for the day, resuming their game characters the following day. In their sentient selves, Ralph is often excluded given his villainous attributes.
Frustrated, Ralph embarks upon a journey and sets out to gain respect from the fellow characters, breaking his bad-guy role and tries to become a hero. The film received Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature and was a profitable success at the box-office.
A sequel was released in 2018, titled Ralph Breaks the Internet. The film’s voice stars include John C. Riley, Sarah Silverman, along with Jake Lynch, Mindy Kaling, and Alan Tudyk.
7. Assassin’s Creed (Netflix)
The name Assassin’s Creed is enough to indicate what the film is about as Ubisoft’s famous and highly successful game series needs no introduction. However, the film delves upon its storyline inspired by the plot of the original Assassin’s Creed video game.
The film follows Callum Lynch, a descendant of Assassins, who is forced into a genetic connection with his ancestor Aguilar de Nerha, which is supported by a gigantic machine built by rival Templars Foundation, Abstergo. Throughout the film, Callum learns of his ancestry and its significance. At the same time, the Abstergo tries to locate an ancient Apple of Eden, which can take away humanity’s freedom of free will.
The film, like the game, leaves several plot points and easter eggs unanswered in the hope of covering them in future series of movies just like the video game series. Unfortunately, the film never did enough business to greenlight a sequel, leaving the franchise’s future in development hell.
The film stars Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, and Brendon Gleeson. While the film may not have been a box-office success, it’s not a bad choice to take up during lockdown and give yourself a nice two-hour movie experience.
8. Rampage (Netflix)
Rampage follows a trio of animals, George (Albino Gorilla), Ralph (Wolf), and Lizzie (Crocodile) are transformed into substantial monstrous creatures after being exposed to an experimental pathogen designed to amplify or mutate the subjects. Since the three animals are known to be rageful predators, their rage and craving for wreaking havoc amplify threatening the entire nation. It’s up to Davis Okoye now, the caretaker of George to stop this mayhem and expose the corporation behind the experiment.
Based on the video game series of the same name, Rampage is a one-time watch entertainer and is even enjoyable if you’re not expecting to take too much from it. The film takes up a refreshing turn from the start, ultimately losing the grip on the narrative in the later stages, focusing only on CGI-created destruction of buildings. However, the presence of Dwayne Johnson makes it worth the while.
These are the movies that are available to stream on various online streaming platforms and can be worth a while if you’re looking for some film entertainment while sitting back home during this long-lasting quarantine period.
If you ask me, start with Tron first. Though I’ve kept it on number 3 in the list, I’ll suggest you take a look at this sci-fi classic and gain a new perspective towards video games movies. Besides, my other favorite picks will include Ready Player One and Detective Pikachu. As for Bandersnatch, well, I’ll leave that up to you as it’s not a film made for everybody.